* Hamas 'shocked' by Arab participation in ME conference Hamas expressed dismay Saturday at Arab foreign ministers' unanimous decision to participate in next week's Middle East peace conference in the United States.
* Lebanon faces power vacuum threat Lebanon is facing a potential power vacuum after its president left office with no elected successor, and rivals argue over who will now take control.
* Olmert discusses Annapolis with Merkel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed his "great interest" in a successful outcome to next week's Middle East peace conference.
* Musharraf confirmed as president The election of Pervez Musharraf as Pakistan's president has been confirmed by the country's election commission following a high court ruling.
* Israel, PA fail to draft joint statement Israel and the Palestinian Authority have failed to draft a joint statement to be presented at next week's US-sponsored Middle East conference.
* Dollar Drops to Record Low Against Euro The dollar hit a new low against the euro in thin trading Friday as speculation continued that the American credit crisis will lead to another cut in interest rates in the U.S.
* Arab League: Discuss Golan at Annapolis conference A senior Arab diplomat said Friday that the Arab League would demand that the US include a discussion on the future of the Golan Heights.
* A nuclear wake-up call The sharp criticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad by an Iranian newspaper close to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has understandably attracted world-wide attention.
* Danish government wants second referendum on euro The recently re-elected Danish government has announced a referendum on scrapping one or more of the country's four EU opt-outs from 1993.* High price of failure raises urgency of Mideast peace conference Next week's Mideast peace conference is unlike any previous U.S. attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.